This fixture is traditionally the smaller of the five, taking place just as the party season gets going, but for those hardy hangover-deniers making the trip out to Uxbridge on Saturday, sequins and sparkle had to wait a bit longer: there was river-crossing cross country business to be done.
With barely a day since October without rain, the pre-race talk was of one thing only: would we cross the river? Yes came the reply. If we were over fifteen we would. The river was surprisingly low and one could have been forgiven for wondering whether some levelling up of that treacherous rocky bed had not taken place over the summer. Two long laps was the extended course; twice across the water. Rather a lot of mud. 207 women finished the course, very slightly down on last year’s 215. Woodford’s squad was just about quorate as three of our strongest women were otherwise indisposed. Not all of the remaining six at their fittest best. But six we were, and that was good enough for us.
Photos (Mark Easton)
First home, with a very strong run was Suzanne Philips (14) running much more strongly than her 31st placing last year over the shorter distance; her endurance boding well for the marathon training she is about to embark upon. With Rachel Lund and Alicia McArdell missing, it was five minutes before a tired and foot-niggled Zoe Watson (79) crossed the line. Barely a week after finishing an ultra marathon, it was quite something that Zoe felt able to race at all, but she gave it all to score those precious points and we hope she makes a fast recovery. Next was Kate Stockings (110) getting fitter from mid-week training with Heathside putting in a strong performance, and hopefully saving something for the post-race celebration of Dad Paul’s 150th Met. Fourth home was new signing [V40] Maud Hodson (133), no ultras in her legs this time, she skipped past V50 Jenny Thomas (140) on the second lap as Thomas battled to hold it together after a recent flare up of a pesky hip flexor problem. Closing for the Woodies V50 was Alex Wardle (149).
This was our least strong team on paper so far this season, but in a less competitive field overall, we finished ninth on the day. However we remain eleventh overall in the League and that puts us firmly in the relegation zone. We have two fixtures remaining to pick it up and get out of danger.